Writing Activites

Describing a Saucepan UFO

Practice 1: UFO Saucepan. Anyone might have to describe an unexpected UFO. Here's a way to practice for that experience.

Ask each child to bring a saucepan and ruler to class. Each student should write an exact description of his or her own saucepan. Give the following directions: "Write down everything that will help identify your saucepan. Use your ruler and measure it, then include the measurements in your description. Look for any special markings (scorch marks, scratches) and their position on your pan. Include this information as well." When everyone has written a paragraph or two, ask students to make a large pile of pans at the front of the room. Then ask students to exchange papers and find the saucepan that matches the description.

Practice 2: UFO Directions. A UFO investigator might have to draw an object that a witness describes. To practice description ability, give a student one of the following pictures:


Standing with back to the class, the student should describe the picture in such a way that the class can draw the object accurately. For example, the describer of picture A might begin by saying: "Draw a 2-inch line in the middle of your paper going from left to right. This line is the bottom of the UFO. At each end of the line is a landing foot which goes straight down for a half inch and has a little circle at the end."

Copyright © James M. Deem. Taken from How to Catch a Flying Saucer (Houghton Mifflin, 1991). All rights reserved.